Tractor hp question, what do I need?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mountaineer, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    This winter it looks like I need to buy a larger tractor. I have an old ford which can't really do anything I need to do. I don't have a lot of money for this because it's not a daily thing, but at the same time the last thing I need is ANOTHER piece of junk tractor. If I could find someone around here to help that would be the obvious route. But so far no luck. And I'll never get the stead started unless these projects get completed.
    Any ideas on what to get I'd like to hear it. This is what I have.
    The ground is heavy clay/silt and wet all the time except summer time.
    I want to.... plow, get some very good chisel plowing done (subsoiling), and disking, and by this it needs to go pretty deep. The property is cleared land but needs some serious grading to be done (flat looking but very bumpy!)
    I think 4wd is a must with the wet ground and snow too.
    Is disking the best way to grade the land? I'm trying to get the field to an even grade, and the future use of the land will be hay, pasture, veggie crops andsoft fruit crops (rasberries etc).
    Thanks for any ideas!!
     
  2. KCM

    KCM Well-Known Member

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    A compact 30 hp should do what you need done. Several companies make them including Deere and Kabota. But they tend to be expensive when you're on a limited budget.

    Have you considered planning out your work and then renting the tractor? You can get a lot done in a day if planned right.
     

  3. Country Doc

    Country Doc Well-Known Member

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    I would go 40-50 hp . I love mt Kubota . I found that disking a heavy clay pasture just did not work. Finally put a tiller on and it takes forever since you are in low gear but what a great job it did. Definitely get the 4 wheel drive.
     
  4. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    Disking, grading, or tilling doesn't require that high a horsepower tractor. Now, you start talking true subsoiling and that's a whole different ballgame.
    It takes a lot of horsepower to do that. I think you'd be better off to hire out the initial subsoiling, then get a respectable horsepower tractor for the rest of your work you normally do. Is there any way to make a shallow drain (ditch) across the field and divert some of the water off it?
     
  5. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    I am doing this same kind of planning for a tractor - I also have a pasture - wet except it's mostly sandy loam instead of clay and a brushy acre to mow and clear - has trees up to 4 inches in diameter on it but mostly brush.

    I am thinking a Mahindra - a bit heavier than JD and Kubota but cheaper by quite a bit. Still much higher quality than the Jimna. I am looking from 20-30 HP. Haven't decided yet, but in the Mahindra the price difference is quite small between 26 and 30 HP.

    I am just thinking today that I may get away with a box scraper and disk instead of a tiller. I have a large walkbehind tiller already so could make seed beds with it for the first year or two - see if I need to invest in the big tiller.

    Another tractor that might fit for you is Kioti - I just don't have a nearby dealer and I haven't gotten prices on them but I think they are also less expensive than Kubota and John Deere.

    We just visited a fellow homesteader yesterday to buy some Buff Orpington Pullets. He has a 30 HP John Deere for his 66 acres and says it's plenty for him. He's doing quite a bit of heavy work with that tractor so he thought even a smaller one would be plenty for leveling pasture/fields and clearing brush.

    It's hard to decide to go small and regret it or go large and really have too much. The reason I want to go as small as possible is because with 4.5 acres total, the tractor will be working in tight spaces once everything is set up.
     
  6. Ford8N

    Ford8N Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like you should buy Mountaineer's Ford!!! :)
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If you are going to do any real work a 50 HP is a must! A 50 HP is small enough to do most of the little jobs also. If money is a question then I would consider and older domestic tractor with differential lock. I recently saw a nice 1100 hours 4630 Ford for $13,000. Nice thing about these series of tractor is that you can get implements readily. I read an article recently on subsoiling. This was from one of the Ag colleges. The article summarized that subsoiling is one of those practices that on the surface seems to have merit but in practice is vitually worthless. I was going to buy a pasture renovator until I read the article. The conclusion from the article was to stay off the land when conditions were not ideal. The absence of heavy equipment when the soil was wet had better results than subsoiling.
     
  8. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the others on 50 hp. I also would get 4WD if possible. If you do have to settle for 2WD the diff lock that agman mentioned is a great help. The difference in price between a 30 hp and a 50 hp is not nearly as much as much you might think, even in new tractors. And there will be times you will absolutely, positively need the extra HP.

    If you do go new take a look at the Farmtrac. I looked them over pretty well at the Sunbelt Expo in October, and I really like them. Take a look at the 5-series. They have three 4WD models from 42-55 hp in that series.

    www.farmtrac.com
     
  9. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    we have a single shank jd sub soiler with a removable mole ,it can take all the hp a 6600 ford(72hp) has too get it through baked packed clay! it has made a difference esspecially the mole in wet rented ground.
     
  10. vallyfarm

    vallyfarm Well-Known Member

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    If the land is wet all but in the summer, then you need TILE. that is what you need. Before you need a bigger tractor you need tile. Tile your property. I had a 5 A. field that was the same way. I went up to a 65 HP tractor pulling a 2 bot plow and a 10 ft. disk. I got a greasy mess of compacted clay. I finally put in a tile line, and now I can plow anytime with my Super A! 2" of rain on Mon. means I'll be able to be in the field on wed. NO amount of HP can fix watter logged soil. Put in the tile, and everything else will be a simple task. Incase I'm being vague, you need to tile that land in order to work it right. Best of luck, Mike
     
  11. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    we did everything you said with a 17 horse kubota plus set posts with the auger we maintained 36 ac. pasture we just moved up to a ford 4000 wanted the front end loader
     
  12. WAB

    WAB Well-Known Member

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    Why not ask the farmers in your area what they use. They can give you good advice. I have a B7510 Kubota tractor. It has a 21hp engine and 11hp at the PTO. It does most of what I want to do. I have a small garden and 5 acres of land. If I had known better I would have bought a little larger tractor(20hp at the PTO). But that is a learning experience. The main reason for a subsoiler is to break the "pan" underneath the tilled ground. A "pan" develops when you work the ground that will act as a water barrier and water wont drain. The subsoiler breaks it up so that water can soak into the ground.
     
  13. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

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    I had never wanted a tractor but when we needed to repair our water it turned out to be cheaper to buy a tractor than hire someone to do it (ouch). I was going to get the smallest tractor that would do the job. Since I knew nothing about tractors and used ones cost almost as much as new I decided to go with new that had a warrantee (good thing I did) and my wife urged me to get the biggest tractor we could afford. Good thing she did because I've never regretted having the extra power. We ended up getting a John Deere 4700 which is 48 horse power.

    I like the small size of the machine and it's tight turning radius as well as the power. More power would have meant a much bigger machine. Less power and I would never be able to do things I've done with it.

    Other tips:

    1) Get the wheels filled with fluid. The extra weight in the wheels makes a big difference. I never use the weight box. I also leave the backhoe on for more weight most of the time.

    2) Have the wheels set wide if you live on hills. I had them set at the full 8' of width, against the advice of the dealer, and I am very glad I did. I recently used a rental without the wide stance and hated it! Big butts are better on tractors and ...

    3) If you're in the north (e.g., ice) get chains on the rear wheels and maybe the front wheels. Get high quality chains. I leave mine on all year long. It gives me a lot more traction and saves wear on the tire rubber too. I don't live on a paved road. Perhaps this would be a problem if you had paving or concrete.

    4) Get 4WD. I use it almost all the time. Much better traction.

    5) Have chain hooks welded onto the ends and mid point of the bucket for the front loader and in the middle back of the back hoe bucket. Then get some good chain to use for picking things up. See this article: http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2006/12/cottage-snowed-delivering-hay.html
     
  14. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I would stay away from compact tractors as you say you want to hay with it. I would also want a loader if I were you as it's pretty handy for everything including building outbuildings. I've got a 2600 Ford which is probably on the low end power wise for every task you mention and it's 2wd which is a hindrance with a loader and on slick ground. A 4wd about that size would be nice.
     
  15. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the right sorta work for a older Massy or binder (Internationa), if you get a good used tracter you can buy a lot of horsepower for not much money.If your not using it that much it should last a long time Id be looking at the size range that is cheapest in your area ...that just might be 100 Hp or more....YES sometimes a tractor that big is a LOT cheaper than the 30 or 40 Hp compact ones.
     
  16. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    I have never had a tractor that was to large for the job. I have a 50 HP and a 70 HP.
     
  17. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Wow thanks for all the ideas! With the subsoiling, everyone around here swares by it, suppodedly has solved a lot of drainage issues locally. Actually the extensuion suggested it originally. Being flat land with somewhere to drain too, it 'should' work.
    I really have learned my lesson with being cheap and getting a really old tractor. It was all I could afford but it really does nothing but get me around, like a really cool old car. Like an old car it breaks down every couple weeks.
     
  18. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    Hardly enough acreage for a big 4x4 tractor.,
    We have a 30 horse 4x4 and we hardly use it.. The turning radius sucks compared to our 45 horse 2wd tractors. If it is to wet to plow.. it is to wet to plow period.. Clods do not break up..
     
  19. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    I also run a Ford 4000 SU with a Dunham Lehr front end loader that is driven off a front pump. Great set up and has the guts for anything we need to do. They can be had for 4000 to 6000 depending on age/condition and equipment with it.
    I alos leave either the shredder or the 7 foot blade on the back for weight when using the FEL. It needs it.
    My front tires are foam filled but the backs are not filled. When I have new tires put on (soon) I'll have them filled too.
     
  20. Shadow

    Shadow Well-Known Member

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    We have a 25 hp that is a great lawn mower with a finish mower behind it, two wheel drive, the wife bought me a 45 hp kobato four wheel drive with a front end loader, The four wheel drive is great but shift to two wheel drive if you do not need it. You have to have 4 wheel if you have a front end loader, its just the right size any smaller is a waste of money, anybigger and the fuel cost would be high.